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The Soul Desires, Loves, and Lets Go

An ego response is always an inadequate or even wrong response to the moment. It will not deepen or broaden life, love, or inner laughter. Your ego self is always attached to mere externals, since it has no inner substance itself. The ego defines itself by its attachments and revulsions. The soul does not attach nor does it hate; it desires and loves and lets go. Please think about that, it can change your very notion of religion.

—from the book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr, OFM

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God Desires Our Happiness

How helpful it is to see sin, like addiction, as a disease, a very destructive disease, instead of merely something that was culpable, punishable, or “made God unhappy.” If sin indeed made God unhappy, it was because God desires nothing more than our happiness, and wills the healing of our disease. The healing ministry of Jesus should have made that crystal clear; healing was about all that he did, with much of his teaching illustrating the healings—and vice versa.

—from the book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr, OFM

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Success Isn't Everything

I cannot pretend to understand God, but this is what I see: People who have moved from seeming success to seeming success seldom understand success at all, except a very limited version of their own. People who fail to do it right, by even their own definition of right, are those who often break through to enlightenment and compassion.

—from the book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr, OFM

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The Genius of the Twelve Steps

The absolute genius of the Twelve Steps is that it refuses to bless and reward what looks like any moral worthiness game or mere heroic willpower. It spotted the counterfeit and “drags it publicly behind it in a triumphal parade” (Colossians 2:15). With Gospel brilliance and insight, A.A. says that the starting point and, in fact, the continuing point, is not any kind of worthiness at all but in fact unworthiness! (“I am an alcoholic!”) Suddenly religion loses all capacity for elitism and is democratic to the bone. This is what Jesus affirmed in prostitutes, drunkards, and tax collectors, and what Paul praised when he said, “It is when I am weak that I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

—from the book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr, OFM

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Love Responds to Love

We have been graced for a truly sweet surrender, if we can radically accept being radically accepted—for nothing! “Or grace would not be grace at all”! (Romans 11:6). As my father, St. Francis, put it, when the heart is pure, “Love responds to Love alone” and has little to do with duty, obligation, requirement, or heroic anything. It is easy to surrender when you know that nothing but Love and Mercy is on the other side.

—from the book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr, OFM

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The World Is Pregnant with God

Reading the Book of Life gave Francis new meaning to the world around him. He began to read the Book of Life in the book of the world because the Book of Life gave him “insight”—new vision. He read the Book of Life in lepers and poor people because he saw in them the goodness of God.... He read the Book of Life in birds, flowers and all other living creatures. He realized that he was related to each of them as “brother” because each had their source in the goodness of God and reflected that goodness in their own particular and unique way. In the Book of Life Francis also realized his own limitations, his fragility and sinfulness, and it was in knowing how fragile he really was that he became a great lover of God. The Book of Life gave Francis a new self-knowledge and this knowledge liberated him from a false self. Reading the Book of Life gave Francis great insight to the poverty of being human, that is, being radically dependent on God. “What a person is before God,” he said, “that he is and no more.” When we read the Book of Life we recognize our human poverty, which makes us free to be with God and for God. The Book of Life liberated Francis to throw himself into the infinite embrace of God’s love. When we live in God and God lives in us then we see the world for what it truly is—pregnant with God.

—from the book The Humility of God: A Franciscan Perspective  by Ilia Delio, OSF

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Christ Is the Book of Life

Christ is the Book of Life. Somehow we still do not read this book properly. We buy lots of books hoping to find the answers to our many questions of life; yet, we do not know how to read this “Book of Life,” the “Book of Christ.” What does it require to read a book? It requires time, quiet, patience, attentiveness to the written words, imagination and emotions. Reading a book, if it is a good book, should move us from one level of life to another because once the mind is moved to insight and the heart is changed, life is never the same. Reading a good book is experiential. It is living in the drama of someone else’s life or it may be allowing the drama of the story to touch one’s own life. The two stories—the story of the book and the history of the reader—merge. The horizon of the book and the horizon of the reader become one and a new horizon emerges, the horizon of insight or a new understanding of life. This is how we should read the Book of Life, in a way that we come to a new horizon of life, new insight.


—from the book The Humility of God: A Franciscan Perspective  by Ilia Delio, OSF

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The Crib and the Cross

One cold January night when the world seemed to lie in darkness, I sat down from a long day and turned to C-Span2, BookTV. One of the books that piqued my interest was James H. Cone’s, The Cross and the Lynching Tree. I’d not heard of it before, and as the book was being discussed, something awakened in me, and I saw how vacuous was the Christmas I had participated in a few weeks before. Even though I was centered on the Christ Child and the Franciscan emphasis on the Incarnation, it was a sentimental Baby Jesus who filled my prayer and my imagination—not the baby who grew and matured and gave us the Sermon on the Mount which he then lived out and because of which he was put to death on the hanging tree of the cross. I was looking at the Baby Jesus of countless crèches and not at the babies who were slain by King Herod because of the Baby Jesus. The implications of the connections between Jesus in the crib and Jesus on the cross like someone hanged from a tree, are overshadowed and seem, at times, almost eradicated by the world that our greed, self-interest, and neglect of the poor and the disenfranchised has created. St. Francis saw the connection between the crib and the cross.

—from the book Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from Saint Francis by Murray Bodo, OFM

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The Greatness of God's Love

God bends low so that God can meet us exactly where we, finite, fragile, created human beings, creatures and all living things, are. God bends low because we are small, limited, frail, confused, bewildered, chaotic and sometimes just plain infantile. God bends low because God’s arms are much longer than ours, and God reaches out for our tiny human hands. Imagine a God who is humbly bent low to embrace us in love compared to a God who sits high above on a throne and keeps score of human sins. Imagine a God who is so great in love that God desires to share love with fragile and incomplete human beings compared to a God who loves only himself and wants to glorify himself by creating finite creatures to glorify him even though they have a hard time because they are full of defects due to sin. What Bonaventure (like Francis) realized in the mystery of the Incarnation is that God bends over in love to meet us where we are. God is Most High and most intimately related to us.

—from the book The Humility of God: A Franciscan Perspective  by Ilia Delio, OSF

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